My whole life I have always been someone that wants to please everyone, and make everyone happy. Having this personality type is great because you know that people can always depend on you. However, with the want to be perfect comes insecurity. It took me a long time to realize that I am not perfect. In fact, I believe it is impossible to be perfect. We will always have our flaws, mistakes, and insecurities. It’s just part of being human. I still constantly battle with the need to be perfect or seem like I have it all together. When I started Greatly Loved Photography, it hit me hard. I knew that I was a beginner with little to no experience. I was constantly comparing myself to others. I hadn’t even had my first client, and I was already putting myself down. Ridiculous, I know. My husband says I can be impatient at times, and boy is he right. I want to see results right away, but it doesn't happen like that. He would constantly remind me that I couldn’t become a successful photographer over night. In fact, he reminds me of this all the time. He is always reminding me that I have to start somewhere. I have to work hard and not give up. I’m super blessed with this man, because he is always encouraging and pushing me to be my best self. He is the backbone of Greatly Loved. Seriously! It took a little for me to find myself again. I’m still a little lost but I’m making it work. So, why I am going on this soapbox? Well, as stated in my last blog, it is extremely important to stay true to yourself as a person. If you take care of yourself and your well-being, you’ll be a better photographer. 

        Many times in life, as both a person and as a photographer, we are going to be faced with instances where we are surrounded by people who have many more years of experience than ourselves. In these moments, it is easy to be overwhelmed and intimidated. But, it is important to remember that these individuals had to start somewhere – they have been in our shoes at one point. As you may know if you read my last post, I experience this all the time. I remember one time I was on a session, and there was a photographer that made it look so easy. She had a outgoing personality, cool style, and knew her way around the camera. I was trying so hard to stay focused on my client but in the back of my head I found myself thinking I would never be that good. When I got home I looked at other photographers work and tried to be just like them. I wasn’t doing what Miranda wanted, I was doing what I thought everyone else wanted me to do or be. I was going on session trying to have a bubbly outgoing personality, but I really just looked like a weirdo. I am not an outgoing person at all! I’m actually very shy and introverted. As I was losing sight of myself I had to tell myself over and over that I am not them and I will never be them. Not in a way that I couldn’t be as gifted as them, but in a way that they are their own individual and I am mine. I began to realize that it was okay to not be outgoing. I realized that my talent was my ability to connect with my clients, and that didn’t mean I had to be outgoing – that meant I had to be open and personable. In fact, this helped me develop my “style.” I would say that my style is not a specific style, but rather a way to connect and bring joy to my clients. That’s my way of being able to capture the emotion behind a smiling face.

        I also realized that it is okay not to have it all together, because who does? Your version of “having it all together” could be a totally different standard than another person’s. Just do what you need to do and produce what you need to produce and it won’t matter how “together” you are – that’s just another way for people to throw labels on others. If someone’s way of working is productive for them, that’s all that matters. The end goal and what it produces speaks way more about the quality of your work than what someone else perceives as an organized persona. Just do things the way you like, but don’t forget to stay open minded – there’s always more to learn.

        Yes, having technical ability is a key aspect of being a photographer, but it goes beyond that. I have been surrounded by arts my whole life. I started with singing at a young age until college. I then began doing a lot of painting and drawing to help me with my mental health. Now, I get to make a lifetime of memories for people. One of the greatest things about art for me is that you get to tell someone’s story whether it be yours, Chopin’s, or Picasso’s. Chopin and Picasso had to start somewhere. I’m sure they had many failures before they found the styles that are recognized worldwide. While they are famous and recognized people, they still have critics. They also probably saw flaws in things we find beautiful today. Now, what does this have to do with photography? Photography is an art form like any other. If you don’t stay true to yourself in any art form it will just become a thing and not a passion. It is not about being perfect. It is about bringing joy to others, sharing their story, doing what you love, and sharing your story. The more we fall, the more we learn to appreciate the art and act of photography. Stay confident. stay inspired, and stay humbled. Do this and you will set apart from the crowd. 

Now, go take some photos!

Gracefully,

Miranda West
    

    
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